reformat

Securely Erasing SSDs

If you’re about to sell or give away a computer, it’s important to ensure that all of your personal data is erased first. This is a pretty simple task when it comes to traditional spinning hard drives, and there are plenty of tools to make sure the drive is completely and securely wiped. Solid State Drives, however, are a different story. SSDs use something called “wear leveling,” which ensures that no one cell gets written to too many times. This is to keep the drive from wearing out, but it also means that it isn’t possible to write over (or erase) every part of the drive.

How can I wipe a Windows computer that's locked with a password?

Windows 10

Episode 1462

Don from Los Angeles, CA

Don recently got a used PC, but it's locked with a password. Since the password prompt comes up after the PC has loaded Windows, Leo says it's easy to wipe it and reinstall the operating system. All he needs to do is download the Windows 10 installation tool from Microsoft called the "Media Creator's Tool", and put that on a thumb drive. Then he can boot to that drive, format, and reinstall it from there.

Why is my computer just shutting down?

Episode 1291

Moe from California

Moe's computer running Windows 7 keeps shutting down on him. Leo says that with the age of Moe's computer, the hard drive is getting unreliable. It's time to backup his hard drive and then swap it out for a new one and reinstall Windows. It may be enough just to reinstall Windows, though. Leo does this every year as "spring cleaning." It keeps it more reliable. So he should try that first. He should backup his Documents and Settings folder to get his data. Then he can format that old hard drive and reinstall Windows.